What it does: Provides money transfers and electronic payments via mobile phones to the low-income people of Bangladesh.
Best known for: Providing money transfer services to over 30 million users.
Staff stats: Around 1,900 employees.
The good bits: Reported to have a good work environment. Compensation is above-average in the industry.
The not-so-good bits: Work pressure is often high. The company is said to be slow in adopting new technologies. Vacation leave is limited to 12 days in a year for permanent employees.
Hiring grads with top marks in: IT & computer sciences, engineering, finance, mathematics, accounting, economics & business administration, law & legal studies, psychology, humanities, arts & social sciences.
bKash Limited is the largest mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh with a 60% share of the mobile money market. The company claims that it has around 182,000 agents all over the country and a growing number of integration and collaboration with banks. It generates at least five million daily transactions from its 30 million registered users.
Founded in July 2011, bKash began as a joint venture between BRAC Bank Limited, Bangladesh and Money in Motion LLC, USA. It focuses its basic services on 70% of the country’s population of 100 million living in rural areas where access to conventional banking and financial services is hard. In April 2013, World Bank group member International Finance Corporation (IFC) became an equity partner. In March 2014, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also came in as an investor. In April 2018, Ant Financial (Ali Pay), an affiliate of the Alibaba Group, likewise became an investor.
The company’s net earnings increased over the five years leading to 2017, peaking at 488 crores (US$96.2 million or AUD$137.7 million). In 2018, profits slumped by more than 50% to 185 crores (US$36.4 million or AUD$52.1 million). Experts attributed the decline to the intense competition the company faced with more aggressive players introducing improved mobile applications that make transactions smoother and provide better customer satisfaction.
One way to apply is online, where candidates fill out an application and resume form. Successful candidates receive a call a week submission application. Applying through a staffing agency takes a longer response time of up to two months. The next step in the process is the written test comprising basic math, English, and analytical skills. Candidates can take the exam only in the company’s office in the city of Dhaka.
Candidates who pass the exam go through three interviews: first with the Human Resources (HR) officer, second with the department head, and last with the HR head. Initial questions that are asked during the interview are basic ones such as the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses as a person and as a professional. The challenging questions are about the financial service industry. Sample questions are: Which aspect of financial services are you best versed in? If you could expand your knowledge in any financial service area, which would you choose and why? Talk to me about your post-secondary education and how this will help you in your career with bKash Limited? How do you keep up with the new trends in the financial services sector?
For interns, the reported monthly salary during their three-month contract is pegged at 5,000 BDT. Customer service representatives are offered 15,000 to 17,000 BDT per month. The average monthly salary for non-regular employees with a length of stay of less than six months is around 21,000 BDT per month. Permanent positions (six months or more) fetch a rate of 40,000BDT per month, considered above par in the sector.
For better career advancement, the organisation offers candidates the positions of management and sales trainees, territory officers, and engineers.
Management and sales trainees are assigned short-term projects with specific KPIs (key performance indicators) that they should maintain in the next two years, to develop their business acumen. Within 24 months, there will be three job rotations equivalent to six in each assigned department. Once they pass the assessment after the two-year program, they will be promoted to managers.
Territory officers are tasked to assist area sales managers in preparing different plans and activities giving various information, facts, figures, and market feedback. Senior engineers, on the other hand, develop information systems by studying operations, designing, developing and installing software solutions.
The work environment is said to be friendly, with employees and officers likely to be approachable and accommodating. Employees are also encouraged to take ownership of their work, which means the organisation allows them autonomy and authority to carry out their responsibilities. However, work-life balance is far from ideal in this company due to high work pressure. Since bKash Ltd. is the current industry leader, employees are expected to work hard to retain the company’s top market status, high-quality service, and consistent customer satisfaction while expanding customer base at the same time. Moreover, it is reported that the middle management system lacks direction and defined processes to lead the rank-and-file. This leads to numerous work redundancies, strained relationships between employees and management, and miscommunication between departments.
Non-governmental organisations used bKash to implement their livelihood and charitable projects. In 2013, UK-based charitable group Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) teamed up with bKash to transfer cash to over 3,300 households in the flooded parts of Fulchori Upazila of Gaibandha in Bangladesh. Recently, humanitarian organisation Plan International Bangladesh provided cash for work and livelihood grants to around 14,000 households in fixed amounts every six months and decided to use bKash to transfer these funds to avoid misappropriation and mismanagement.
bKash claims to value openness and approachability, with employees, encouraged to approach management to give feedback. The company also has processes in place for anonymous feedback as well as a committee to deal with complaints. To succeed at bKash, employees should be willing to get out of their comfort zone and try challenging tasks.